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Is Display Advertising Dead?

display advertising

Do you know those little pop-up advertisements that you find all over websites? The ones that are typically irritating you and blocking you from the content you are actually trying to see? This is what is known as display advertising.

For the everyday consumer, they’re typically ignored or not even noticed. But for the advertiser, it is important to explore whether or not these advertisements are still effective enough to invest resources into. Keep reading to find out whether they are worth it or not in today’s age of ever-flowing technology.

Ad blockers

One of the reasons why many in the industry believe the era of display advertising is dead is because of the rise in advertisement-blocking software.

According to Business Insider and eMarketer, 30% of internet users are predicted to implement some form of an advertisement blocker while online (BANNERFLOW.COM). For advertisers, this is a frighteningly high percentage.

It also does not help that software such as Adblock is completely free and requires nothing more than a simple click to install on people’s computers.

As a result, many publishing companies and media corporations moved to subscription-only models in order to avoid advertising. For instance, some of the biggest publishers and media companies today, such as Forbes, The Washington Post, Hulu, and more, do not allow advertisement blockers on their sites by asking consumers to “disable the ad blocker” before letting them access the desired page or link.

While this might be doable for some of these top dogs in the industry, most companies and websites cannot get away with asking this of users because there are so many alternative free options. Users will be quick to leave a site if they’re required to endure annoying advertisements because, well, quite frankly, why wouldn’t they? If they can get the content somewhere else for free without being asked to disable their adblockers, they are going to do just that.

So what is the answer to this for advertisers?

Obviously, advertising revenue is essential to the success of most companies and their online presence. However, we know that consumers are sick of relentless pop-up advertisements. They will easily find content somewhere else if they feel bombarded. And, the alternative, which is the subscription model or requiring the disabling of ad-blocking software is just too much to ask for if companies want to attract most consumers. Therefore, the answer is to find the middle ground between these two extremes.

It’s not that consumers are absolutely unwilling to spend energy or their attention on sites with display advertising. In fact, most consumers understand how necessary those ads are when they are getting their content for free. The part where consumers become unwilling and adverse to sites with display ads is when those ads become intrusive, annoying, and distracting from the content the user is actually trying to view. That is why having a subtly in your display advertisements is the best way to utilize them.


For instance, let’s say you are the average consumer looking to read a random recipe on a cooking site. If you are trying to read the recipe but keep getting thrown off by a display advertisement cutting across the copy and disrupting your place, you are quickly going to be annoyed. You need these measurements to be precise.

Or, let’s say you are a parent, trying to shop for your new baby’s clothing online. If you keep getting annoying pop-up ads featuring a girl in a bikini advertising a video game, you are likely going to be repelled by that store and shop elsewhere. Examples like these come to mind when most users think about display advertising. This results in the general negative connotation associated with it.

What Is the Ideal?

Now picture an ideal version of display advertising. Imagine you are the user, reading an article online about your favorite influencer and her makeup hacks. Tucked to the very right side of the article, something catches your eye. It is a vibrant, yet subtle, design, with little to no text. It features two beautiful eyelids, opening, and closing, showing off a brand of eyeshadow.

In this way, the display advertisement catches the consumer’s eye without annoying them. Additionally, the content of the ad actually relates to the website’s content. This makes it more likely for the user to take interest in it. If every advertiser took this into consideration, consumers might have a very different reaction to them.

Final Thoughts

If you think about it, display advertising could be so much more than it currently is. It is, in theory, a great compromise for everyone involved. This type of advertising earns the company/website revenue and allows the user to access free content. It also gives advertisers a chance for brand recognition. Advertisers just need to take more into consideration.

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